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Molecular characterization of the duck enteritis virus UL4 gene


Duck enteritis virus (DEV) is a herpesvirus that causes an acute, contagious and fatal disease. In the present article, the DEV UL4 gene was cloned and sequenced from a vaccine virus. A degenerate oligonucleotide primer for the consensus site of herpesvirus UL3 gene and a specific primer located in UL5 were used in the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to amplify a DNA product 2 086 bp in size. DNA sequence analysis revealed that a 714 bp open reading frame (ORF) of DEV encoding a 237 amino acid polypeptide is homologous to the family of herpesvirus UL4 proteins and therefore has been characterized as a DEV UL4 gene. Alignment of the DEV UL4 protein sequence with those of other alphaherpesviruses showed that 10 amino acid residues are completely conserved. Phylogenetic tree analysis showed that the seventeen alphaherpesviruses viruses analyzed were classified into four large groups, and the duck enteritis virus branched separately, closely related to the Mardiviruses group comprising Gallid herpesvirus 2 (GaHV-2), Gallid herpesvirus 3 (GaHV-3) and Meleagrid herpesvirus 1 (MeHV-1). The present study showed that the evolutionary relationship of the UL4 protein could be used for classification of alphaherpesviruses.

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Correspondence to Rui-bing Cao.

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Pan, Hq., Wang, N., Liu, L. et al. Molecular characterization of the duck enteritis virus UL4 gene. Virol. Sin. 24, 171–178 (2009).

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Key words

  • Duck enteritis virus (DEV)
  • Degenerate primer PCR
  • UL4 gene
  • Gene Character